When I launched Constructech magazine almost 20 years ago, I had a vision to help subs, GCs, and owners understand the value of leveraging construction technology. At that time, we were just beginning to really understand the power of technology within the construction industry. Since 1998 our mission has remained the same. We are focusing on helping you understand how to leverage data to collaborate among team members and to use that information to increase your bottomline whenever possible.
One of the biggest hurdles facing the construction industry today is a skilled labor shortage. Let’s be honest, this isn’t a new issue per se. We all have talked about it a dozen times a day, but that fact remains this issue continues to plaque the construction industry. Sadly, the outlook isn’t looking all that bright for the immediate future either.
The IoT (Internet of Things) is truly altering the construction industry. What’s more, there are some very interesting key IoT-enabled construction trends making their mark known that are worth mentioning. The first that is worth noting—most of you already can guess—is green building. There is no doubt green building is a bit of an umbrella term that has many meanings for several different things when it comes to the processes of designing and building and then operating and maintaining structures.
Construction has come a long way in accepting the challenges and the opportunities the IoT (Internet of Things) brings and the stats tell an interesting story. Dodge Data & Analytics’, www.construction.com, latest Dodge outlook report predicts moderate, but favorable, growth for the construction industry in 2017 across most project types. Specifically, the report predicts total U.S. construction starts will advance 5% to $713 billion in 2017.
Every time I write about the U.S. infrastructure I can’t help but wonder what it will take before we all respond as a nation. State after state is dealing with some infrastructure issues that in some way or another are causing giant pains, keeping city officials and residents fearful that something awful is inevitably going to happen. We need everyone to be thinking about how we are going to solve these problems. People are dreading a heavy rain that might result in a collapsing bridge, crumbling road, a giant sink hole, or an eroding spillway.
The world is ever-changing. It is becoming even more digital and the IoT (Internet of Things) is proving to be the next journey that the construction industry is exploring and undertaking at a very rapid clip. As a result, Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has a very interesting perspective about the cloud. As he sees it, IoT applications will enable businesses to leverage connected devices, mobility, and to advance to the supply chain, helping companies to get even more information to their customers.
After attending CONEXPO/CON-AGG last week I couldn’t help but be more focused than ever on rebuilding our infrastructure. It was apparent that with like-mined people anything is really possible. The many manufacturers, and of course, the thousands of contractors I have spoken with over time, have emphasized the need, and their desire, to improve our roads and bridges. Even Patrick Jones, the executive director and CEO of the IBTTA (Intl. Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Assn.) saluted the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) when he acknowledged their continued efforts to sound the alarm about the fragile state of America’s infrastructure.
The early days of construction was paved by opportunities. Building of roads, bridges, highways, and skyscrapers were all constructed by equipment that was dependent on gasoline motors, which replaced steam engines. Looking back today, it all seemed so archaic compared to the advanced computing technology that we began writing about just 20 years ago when we launched Constructech magazine.
All too often we talk about what the big tech providers are doing and how they are going to change our lives. But the real question comes down to: how are these tech moves going to impact our business? Well, we are actually getting a real glimpse into what many of the large technology providers are looking to do by simply taking a closer look at their patents. It’s really very telling to keep a close on the patent market.
There is a growing need for standards and data interoperability in the construction space. The IoT (Internet of Things) technology has left few industries untouched by its promise of insight-driving data, streamlined workflows, proactive and predictive maintenance, and more. Construction is no exception. The IoT in construction is blossoming, but there are interoperability hurdles that hold adoption back. Interoperability is key to building data solutions. Perhaps the easiest way to describe the need for interoperability and standards in data or the IoT is that machines and systems need to “speak the same language.”